An all-volunteer workforce of yarn fashionistas created 124 whimsical wigs for young cancer patients at The Magic Yarn Project’s second annual Gold Workshop, Saturday, Sept. 7, at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center.

The wigs – designed with a playful, fanciful flair – are distributed free of charge to pediatric cancer patients around the world.

“Mat-Su Regional hosts a variety of community events throughout the year. Our collaboration with The Magic Yarn Project is one that tugs on everybody’s heartstrings” said Alan Craft, the hospital’s director of marketing and public relations. “The work they do and the passion with which they do it, inspires everyone around them. We’re thrilled that we have been able to host this terrific workshop the past two years.”

Back in 2014, founder of Magic Yarn, Holly Christensen was inspired to make a wig for a friend’s daughter who was battling cancer. After seeing how much joy the wig brought to this one girl, she posted on Facebook requesting donations of yarn in order to expand her project and the post spread quickly across social media.

“It started out just a local effort, but really went viral pretty quickly. We were getting emails from people all over the world,” she said.

Since that day, volunteers have made over 20,000 Magic Yarn Project wigs for cancer patients in more than 50 countries. The project has grown especially in the last several years, and there are now 25 wig-making chapters across the nation and one in Mexico. Christensen plans to establish Magic Yarn chapters in Europe in the future as well as expand the workshops into conventions where people can learn the art of wig making.

The mission is twofold, she says. One purpose is to make beautiful wigs for children battling cancer, but the project is also an opportunity to encourage volunteerism in the community. A single wig takes 1 to 2 hours to create, but the process is a fun one. By the end of the Gold Workshop, volunteers were begging to make just one more before going home.

The most popular wigs resemble Rapunzel and Elsa hair, but Magic Yarn makes a whole variety of Disney princess wigs. The boys love the superhero beanies, but the high demand comes from girls, according to Christensen.

“It’s a big physical change for them and so it not only gives them some hair again but it also helps them to play and dress up and make believe,” she said.

Yarn donations are welcome, but are needed in preapproved brands and colors to avoid the skin irritation that is caused by cancer treatment. The wigs are designed to be soft and comfortable, but also colorful and fun. More about donations as well as instructional videos, wig patterns, photos and other helpful information can be found at TheMagicYarnProject.com.

Mat-Su Regional Medical Center is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. It is a 109-bed acute care healthcare facility providing advanced surgical service, including robotic-assisted partial and total knee and total hip replacement, cardiac care, emergency services, sleep studies, three urgent care centers, the Family Birthing Center and is home to the 30-Minutes-or-Less ER Service Pledge. Mat-Su Regional is accredited as a Chest Pain Center by the American College of Cardiology, and as an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital by The Joint Commission. The hospital has twice been named one of the Top 150 Places to Work in Healthcare by Becker’s Hospital Review. To learn more about Mat-Su Regional, visit www.MatSuRegional.com.

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